Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hibiscus Lemonade

This is a good way to add some oomph to regular lemonade. I had a half pack of dried hibiscus flowers I had purchased for a hair rinse, and decided to make this Hibiscus Lemonade for the heat wave we are experiencing.

Here's how I made Hibiscus Lemonade:

1 packed cup dried Hibiscus flowers ( I have used Sadaf brand)
1 cup water
2 tbsp agave nectar

Boil the water, take off heat. Steep the hibiscus in it for 20 to 30 mins. Strain and add the agave nectar. Stir. The Hibiscus syrup is ready.

To prepare the Hibiscus lemonade, make regular lemonade to fill 2 quarts. I used store bought lemonade mix for this. Add the Hibiscus syrup. Stir well and chill till ready to serve.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dalia upma

I cleaned out my pantry the other day and realized I had a packet of dalia (cracked wheat) lying forgotten. So I promptly set about making this tasty Dalia upma for breakfast on Sunday. Procedure is similar to regular rava (semolina) upma, but I made this in my pressure pan.

Here's how I make Dalia upma:

1 cup dalia
2 tbsp oil
Tempering - 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of hing (asafoetida), 1 green chilli chopped, few curry leaves
Veggies - 1/2 cup chopped onions, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
Salt and sugar to taste
Masala paste - 2 tbsp fresh shredded coconut, 1 tbsp dry roasted peanuts, 1/2 inch ginger, 1 or 2 red chillies - broken, 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds, 3-4 springs of cilantro
3 cups water

In the pressure pan, heat oil, then add the tempering ingredients - first the mustard seeds, when they stop spluttering add all the other ingredients one by one. Roast 2-3 mins and add the veggies - first the onions, fry on medium heat till translucent, then add the other veggies and fry 5 more mins. Add the dalia and roast on medium-low heat for 10 to 15 mins, stirring occasionally. In the meanwhile, boil the 3 cups of water and prepare the masala paste by grinding all the ingredients to a fine paste. You can either dry grind if you have a dry grinder or use a little water to make a smooth paste. After the dalia is well roasted, add salt and sugar to taste, mix well and add the hot water and masala paste. Stir well, check and adjust seasonings as needed. Cover the pressure pan and cook on high heat for 2 whistles. Open the lid when the pressure reduces.

Dalia upma is ready. Serve hot garnished with cilantro.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vada Pav

Vada Pav is a very popular street food in Mumbai. To me, it is the ultimate picnic food - no picnic is complete without it. So I made these vada pavs for my daughter's end-of-year school picnic. Traditionally the vadas (spiced potato balls covered in chickpea flour batter) are deep fried, but I have used my appe pan to fry these with only 1/2 tsp oil each. I got this idea from some internet sites and I simply loved the result. I think the savings in calories is totally worth the slight difference in texture.

Here's how I made the vadas:

2 big potatoes - boiled, peeled and lightly mashed
2 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
1/2 tsp grated ginger paste
1 tsp red chilli pwd
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
some chopped cilantro

Make the tempering my heating the oil and dropping the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the cumin seeds, turmeric pwd and ginger paste. Chopped green chilli and curry leaves can also be added to the tempering for a good flavor, but I avoid these when making the vadas for vada pav. Fry a minute. Add the potatoes, red chilli pwd, salt and sugar. Mix well to coat the potatoes with the spices. Take off heat, add the lemon juice and cilantro and give it all a good stir.

When the mix cools, shape into balls. Since I was using my appe pan for the vadas, I made small-size vadas. If deep frying the vadas, you can make them slightly larger.

For the chickpea flour batter - 1/2 cup heaped chickpea flour/gram flour, 2 tbsp rice flour, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt or to taste, pinch of baking soda. Mix to a smooth paste of dropping consistency.

To fry the vadas in the appe pan, coat the pan with little oil and heat on medium heat. Dip the potato balls in the batter one at a time and place gently in the moulds. Fry one side till golden brown (abt 3 mins), then turn and fry the other side similarly.

You can ofcourse deep fry the vadas too.

To assemble the vada pav - I have used burger buns. I smeared some green cilantro chutney (store-bought) on the insides of the buns. Spread some dry garlic chutney. Place the fried vadas between 2 slices. Since mine were small-sized, 4 fit perfectly on each bun. This worked well as I was able to quarter each bun to get mini bite-sized vada pavs.

These vada pavs were for the parent volunteers at the picnic.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bread Dosa

Bread Dosa is a good way to finish up slices of bread that have been sitting around for a while. It is quick and easy to make and tastes delicious too.

Here's how I make it:

4 Bread slices - I use whole wheat or multigrain bread (usually the slices at the ends of the loaf)
1/2 cup fine rava (semolina)
1 tbsp rice flour
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1 green chilli
few curry leaves
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Sprinkle 1 tbsp water or buttermilk on each slice of bread and keep for 5 mins. Then mix the soaked bread with all the other ingredients from rava to curry leaves above. Add 1/2 cup water and grind in a blender to get the bread dosa batter. Consistency should be like regular dosa batter, so add little more water if needed. Then add the salt, cumin seeds, finely chopped onions and cilantro.

To make the dosa/pancake, heat a non-stick tawa on medium heat and pour a ladleful in the center. Quickly spread it into a circular shape. Dot the edges with little ghee and let it cook for 2-3 mins. Flip over and cook the other side, till both sides are golden brown.

Serve hot with ketchup or chutney.

This make about 4 dosas. These dosas are soft/fluffy inside and crispy outside.
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